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In 1999, Animaniacs was pretty much on its last leg as Kids WB's signature show -- many of its writers and voice actors had moved on to Histeria! and Pokémon was fast becoming the most successful show of the block -- but at the end of the year, the series was given a Grand Finale in the form of the direct-to-video movie Wakko's Wish.
In the film's continuity, the majority of the regular cast of Animaniacs -- and a few extras here and there -- are living happily in Acme Falls, a nice town in the peaceful kingdom of Warnerstock that is ruled by Sir William the Good. When King William passes away, King Salazar the Pushy of the neighboring kingdom Ticktockia takes over Warnerstock and sends everyone into misery thanks to overtaxing. The Warners -- Yakko, Wakko, and Dot -- are a trio of orphans who are suffering more than any other Acme Falls resident, especially Dot (who is in need of a vital operation).
One cold winter night, Wakko wishes upon a star -- and happens to choose the one wishing star in the sky, which then falls into the mountains; the first person to touch it gets exactly one wish. The Warner siblings, eager to make their dreams come true, begin their quest to get to the wishing star so Wakko can make his wish -- but the rest of the citizens of Acme Falls are after it as well, and so is King Salazar. Who will get to the wishing star first and make their wish? Well, the title does give it away... but not completely, since Wakko wished he'd find the star and he did, but to make another wish he'd have to get to it.
- Achievements in Ignorance: Done with Buttons.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The Wheel of Morality finally presents an actual moral at the end.
- Badly-Battered Babysitter: Buttons the dog, as in the series, but his heroism is finally recognized and rewarded.
- Big Bad: King Salazar.
- Big Damn Movie: Wakko's Wish is this compared to the series.
- Cerebus Syndrome: A mild example. The movie still has plenty of the series' staple humor, but the plot is much more serious and the characters show more depth than they usually do.
- Chekhov's Gun: The story and Dot's acting lessons.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Salazar sends the Warners through The Cave of Your Worst Nightmares, where they are scared by Baloney, a filthy gas station bathroom, and Mr. Director (all of which they encountered previously on the series).
- Crowd Song: Most of them features most of the main cast getting at least one solo line.
- Demoted to Extra: Given the huge cast, it's not unreasonble. A notable example is Minerva Mink; other than some solo lines at the beginning, she isn't exactly a featured member of the cast, even though she pops up here and there during the musical numbers. (Then again, it's not as if she was a big part of the original show to begin with due to Executive Meddling, but still.)
- Disney Death: Dot, who recovers right when Wakko makes it to the star.
- Don't Look Down:
Yakko: Now don't look down.
Wakko: Do you get vertigo?
Wakko: Me neither.
Yakko: Yeah, I watched that movie six times and I still don't get it.
- The Dragon: Plotz, to King Salazar.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Everyone (except the Mime and the Big Bad) works their butts off throughout the entire movie trying to get the Wishing Star; thanks to Wakko, they end up all getting what they wanted. For Woobies like Runt, Rita, and Buttons, they really earned their happy ending -- and then some!
- Even Evil Has Standards: Some of Salazar's royal army turn against him after he seemingly killed Dot.
- Everyone Hates Mimes: The Mime is the one reason that Acme Falls was not an entirely perfect place to live, and he is physically abused even through the saccharine epilogue.
- Feelies: The video came with a rolling toy of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot on snowboards stuck under the plastic. Like with the VHS release of Quest for Camelot, the toy was under the plastic of the clamshell cover and difficult to remove.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: Thanks to the show's Loads and Loads of Characters, the movie spends the majority of its times simply establishing what each Cast Herd wants, and spends the rest of the time flipping between them all the way to the conclusion.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: One part of Dot's story has Yakko doing this to Dot.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: As always.
Yakko: All of the shops are closin',
Dot: Things couldn't get much worse,
Skippy: [holding up acorns encased in ice] Even my nuts are frozen,
Slappy: Be careful with that last verse!
- "He used to like nuts; now he's discovered dates!"
- Heartwarming Orphan: The Warner siblings.
- Ill Girl: Dot
- Incurable Cough of Death: Dot; subverted in that the operation she needs is actually to add a beauty mark.
- Interspecies Romance: Pinky (a mouse) and Phar Fignewton (a horse), of course.
- "I Want" Song
- Literal Genie: The Warners try to convince Salazar that the Wishing Star is one of these, in one of the film's more hilarious scenes. He quickly loses his patience (and who can blame him?).
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Dot appears to be this for much of the movie, but it turns out she was just acting the entire time, and the "surgery" she was trying to get was having a beauty mark added.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Logo Joke: Wakko joins Bugs Bunny in the opening logo and takes a bite of the WB shield.
- The Movie
- Mundane Wish: The wish that Wakko ultimately makes is for two ha'pennies. Subverted in that spending them helps revive Acme Falls.
- Orphanage of Fear: The Warner siblings had to live in one of these.
- Pet the Dog: More like "Give the Dog a Meal for All His Troubles."
- The ultimate Pet the Dog, seeing as all his heroism in the entire TV show went unrewarded.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Dot's vital operation, which turned out to be just getting her a beauty mark.
- When Pinky first goes to see Phar Fignewton, he quotes the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.
- Spoiler Title: Guess who gets to the Wishing Star first.
- Tempting Fate: "You know, for a cave of your worst nighmares, this isn't so bad."
- Throw The Dog A Platter Of Steaks: Buttons finally gets rewarded for keeping Mindy safe.
- Win Win Ending: Everyone getting his and her wish. Except the Mime.
- Zillion-Dollar Bill: Because Acme Falls has fallen on such hard times, a ha'penny is treated as this, and two of them is what restores it to being almost perfect (damned mimes.)